In the state of Indiana, divorce is called dissolution of marriage; however the procedure itself is in fact similar to divorce in any other U.S. state. Dissolution of marital relationship ends the legal union and designates marital property along with rights and responsibilities (for instance, parenting rights).

Any type of divorce case formally starts when either partner files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with proper court (Superior Court, Circuit Court, or Domestic Relations Court). After that, the second spouse must be officially informed about the legal action. Divorce cannot be completed before the expiry of the required waiting period, which is 60 days in Indiana. The marital relationship is dissolved when a judge signs the Final Divorce Order, and the parties can obtain its official copies by mail.

Nevertheless, as each couple is special and the conditions of each dissolution case might differ substantially, even within the pointed out above plan lots of various scenarios are possible. So, let’s figure out what aspects influence a divorce at its every phase, as well as what are the kinds of divorce in Indiana.

Step by step

1. Residency Requirements

In Indiana, the partners obtain a divorce at the area of their residence. More precisely, the couple is qualified to apply for divorce in Indiana if at least one of the spouses is resident of the state for six months or more next preceding the filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

Indiana residency demands assume more flexibility for service members who may file for divorce in Indiana courts if they either live or are based within the state as active-duty military during the relevant period.

Additionally, the partners’ place of residence sets the court which they need to file for divorce with. The petition must be submitted to the proper Superior Court, Circuit Court, or Domestic Relations Court depending upon the county, where either spouse lives.

2. Contested VS Uncontested Divorce

After ensuring you are qualified to get a divorce in Indiana, you need to choose whether you are going to contest the case. Contesting a divorce implies delegating to resolve all the debatable issues of your dissolution to the court. This implies a number of court hearings, during which the parties’ lawyers defend the spouses’ interests acting from their behalf. Not surprising that contested divorce usually turns out into a long-drawn court battle with mutual blaming and various other undesirable consequences, not to mention that contested divorces typically take a lot of money on attorneys’ charges.

Uncontested divorce takes place when the parties decide to dissolve amicably as possible. Filing a divorce petition, the partner who launches the case needs to point out the no-fault ground for divorce, which is called “irretrievable breakdown” in Indiana. This means that it’s no one’s fault that the marital relationship failed. Notice that although filing on the ground of irretrievable breakdown is allowed regardless of whether one party or both of them wish to end the marriage, for an uncontested procedure the partners’ intention to divorce should be mutual. The highlight of an uncontested divorce is that the spouses are in charge to resolve all the terms of their separation out-of-court and also make a marital settlement agreement. Their arrangement is to cover child-related issues, the division of property, spousal support terms, as well as various other factors which seem essential for a specific couple. The only final hearing might be needed in an uncontested divorce.

3. Is DIY divorce a good idea?

In fact, everyone has a legal right for pro se divorce (divorce without an attorney) in Indiana, yet if the case is contested, representing yourself is extremely complicated and also there is no guarantee that your spouse will not use the help of an attorney. If you have actually decided to arrange an uncontested divorce in Indiana, you should consider it really thoroughly as well, but your chances to succeed are much higher. Do-it-yourself divorce might} seem attractive since it allows to save a great deal of money (lawyers service is not cheap, the attorney’s fee is about $200 per hour).

4. Filing divorce paperwork

Basic forms which are required for a divorce in Indiana are somewhat similar for a contested and uncontested divorce and do not vary according to your choice on how to represent your interests before the court – independently or with legal assistance. For your comfort, the Indiana courts site provide four kinds of form packages. They are “Divorce with children” (with and without agreement – separately), {and “Divorce without children” (with and without agreement, respectively). So, you have not to sort out all the possible forms on your own; the only point you need to make clear is whether all these forms are exactly those which are required in your certain county of filing. Among the necessary forms, you probably need to fill out regardless of the specificity of your divorce case in Indiana are Appearance Form|Type, Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Summons, and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. If the partners run an uncontested dissolution, they also need to complete the Verified Waiver of Final Hearing, which informs the court that the parties are agreed on all the terms of their dissolution as well as they are ready to participate in a final hearing and obtain their final divorce order.

Those divorcing spouses who have minor kids of the marriage (under 18) additionally submit the Appearance Not for Public Access Form which provides the Social Security with numbers of all family members involved, in cases involving child support.

After you’ve chosen the correct paperwork kit, you should fill them out carefully and correctly. Completed forms must be printed and submitted to the court clerk. The court clerk should stamp the papers. After that, you will be given a case number and the copies of the forms which you should deliver to your spouse.

Notice, that not all the forms should be filed at once. Such papers as Verified Waiver of Final Hearing, Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, and Settlement Agreement (if your divorce is uncontested and you and your spouse have succeeded to prepare it in advance) should be filed later, at the end of the waiting period.

5. Serving Process

Serving process means delivering the divorce paperwork to the spouse who is a defendant in a divorce lawsuit. No matter whether the spouse knows about a divorce or not, he or she must be served with the copies of divorce forms according to the state rules.

In Indiana, copies of Petition and Summons may be delivered by certified mail, private process server or by sheriff’s deputy.

The defendant should accept documents and give a formal response within 30 days. Otherwise, he or she may lose their authority to challenge the plaintiff’s requests or the judge’s decision, meaning that divorce can be granted by default (on the plaintiff’s terms).

6. Finalizing a divorce

Filing for divorce in Indiana assumes mandatory 60-days waiting period between a start of the divorce case and signing a divorce decree. Due to the law, even an uncontested divorce cannot be finalized faster. As the state of Indiana does not require separation before filing for divorce, the waiting period is established instead as the last chance for the spouses to reconcile and change their mind. Also, the court needs time to process documents, and, in the case of uncontested dissolution, the spouses may spend this time developing a settlement agreement.

After 60 days have elapsed, you should bring and file the rest of the paperwork. Then the judge can review all the divorce forms and documents, and conclude whether the final hearing is necessary. If not, the final divorce order will be signed immediately. If the final hearing is needed you would be notified about its date.

When the judge signs the final divorce order, the marriage is officially terminated.

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